VALLEJO — Blues guitarist Steve Freund grew up in the south Brooklyn area. He lived in a building that was evacuated when Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast last month.
He could only watch, helplessly, as pictures of the devastation surfaced.
“I knew they would need help,” he said.
So he got some friends together for a benefit concert for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
One of the first people he contacted was singer Maria Muldaur, who was born in Greenwich Village.
“She was on board right away,” Freund said.
Guitarist Vince Caminiti and pianist Mitch Woods were next. They grew up in the same neighborhood as Freund. The other performers were who Freund felt would draw a crowd.
“The ultimate goal is to fill the seats, get the money and give it the Red Cross,” Freund said.
It’s been at least a decade since Freund visited New York. He left when he was 24 and spent some time in Chicago before heading to the Bay Area. He has plenty of fond memories, including fishing at Breezy Point in Queens. About 80 homes were destroyed there when a fire erupted at the peak of Superstorm Sandy.
“That town got devastated,” Freund said.
He still has friends in the area, which gives him a sense of obligation to help.
“It’s up to us (to help),” Freund said. “Right now, they are just trying to rebuild.”
Freund also put together a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which raised several thousand dollars. It was given to the Red Cross.
He hopes to repeat the success with this benefit. Freund doesn’t have a goal.
“Whatever we raise,” he said. “Every little bit helps.”
Carlton Senior Living, in Vallejo, donated the money for the cost of the concert. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Red Cross. All musicians and crew are donating their time.
Freund will anchor the benefit with his house band – drummer Paul Revelli, keyboardist Mike Emerson, bassist Don Bassey and Caminiti. Other performers include Alvon Johnson & Friends, Daniel Castro, and The Hound Kings. Each act will perform for about 30 minutes.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.